Elite Dangerous is the fourth game in the Elite series of games and was released on December 16, 2014. It was partially funded via a Kickstarter campaign. The Xbox One version launched on October 6, 2015.
Elite Dangerous brings a modern look and new features to the Elite Franchise. It is also the first game in the series to feature online multiplayer.
Elite Dangerous takes place in the same universe as Frontier: Elite II and Frontier: First Encounters, 50 years after the events of FFE, in the year 3300AD - 3301AD. The Thargoid race, introduced in earlier games, will also appear.
Elite Dangerous builds upon the foundations of the previous Elite titles, but aims to expand these ideas to a modern context.
Multiplayer vs Solo Edit
The player may choose from the following: Solo Play, Private Channels (only friends or invited people will be encountered), or Open Play. In open play, you may be matched with any other player who is also in open play and happens to be on the same server.
The game works in a seamless, lobby-less way, with the ability to rendezvous with friends as the player chooses. This was tested since the early betas, and uses a combination of peer-to-peer (to reduce lag) and server connections.
Depending on the player's chosen configuration, some of the other ships they meet as they travel around are real players as opposed to computer-controlled ships. It may be a friend the player has agreed to rendezvous with there, or it may be another real player that has been encountered by chance.
All players are Commanders in the Pilots Federation – that is how they are distinguished from non-players. The prefix "CMDR" is visible before their name. The radar can also be used to distinguish a real player from a ship controlled by the computer. A player shows as a hollow square or triangle (indicating stowed or deployed hardpoints) while a ship controlled by the computer appears as either a solid square or triangle.
Evolving Universe Editminor faction to increase their influence in that system. This can eventually lead to wars, which players can then continue to help their chosen faction by participating in. In addition to war, players can also influence minor factions in star systems in other ways such as causing an economic boom.
New star ports are slowly built in real time. These events create opportunities for players in the form of Community Goals, as the resources and workers required for building need to be transported to the site, which becomes a prime target for piracy and increase the demand for bounty hunting.
Procedural Content Edit
Procedural generation of content is a technique where content is generated from rules. It abstracts repetitive or arbitrary elements of content creation in a very efficient way.
Imagine a medieval landscape. Laying out towns, roads, castles, farm land, forests and so on can be done by a system of rules – putting castles widely spaced out on vantage points, towns near rivers but under the protection of such a castle, roads between them, then with farm land to support them all. An artist can still design the castle, the houses in the towns, but this approach greatly magnifies the content that can be created. Frontier: Elite II did this for the star systems, and planets, and with Elite Dangerous, Frontier Developments have gone even further.
Destructible Ship Models Edit
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Larger ships will have multiple shield generators which can be targeted and will fail individually. This will add an extra level of skill where attackers can inflict hull damage by firing weapons at a single point and the prey navigates in a way that draws fire to working shields.
The operating shield radius on very large ships will also allow for very small fighters to be able to sneak under them and cause immediate damage to the hull.
Unlike previous Elite games where ships would simply explode once the hull integrity hit zero, the ship models will be divided into sections so that damage will be localized to where weapon fire impacts. This means that, for example, the cargo hold can be exposed (shedding cargo) but thrusters, hyperdrives, and weapons would not be affected.
Once a ship has been targeted, a subsystem can be specifically targeted, making it possible to attack specific modules to cause desired malfunctions. Frontier Developments have already hinted at future updates allowing for boarding of ships.
Player Roles Edit
Unlike RPGs, players in Elite Dangerous do not choose their role by customising their character. Instead, the choice and customisation of their ship gears it towards specific role(s). Some examples are Trader, Miner, Explorer, Bounty Hunter, Smuggler and Pirate. However hybrid roles are possible through emergent gameplay e.g. defensive bounty hunting while trading in a multipurpose vessel, or taking long-range trade missions and exploring systems along the way.
In order to allow each player to explore each role they are able to own multiple ships and each can be customised to fill a certain role. When not in use a ship is stored in a station and can be retrieved by returning to that station at any time.
Trading EditTrading in previous games was limited to a relatively small number of different commodities such as hydrogen fuel, precious metals, computers etc.
Traders in Elite Dangerous have access to a large number of commodities both legal and illegal. Also present are "rare commodities" that are unique to a specific star system and increase in value the further from their origin they are sold.
Instead of static prices per star systems, markets respond to events going on in the vicinity such as war, famine, blockades etc. This creates the opportunity for players to "game" the markets by manipuating supply and demand.
Players are also able to smuggle goods, needing to move fast or use precise management of heat in order to slip past station security forces.
Players are able to steal cargo from other ships using a variety of means. They can employ hatch-breaker limpets which when fired at an un-shielded target will latch onto the cargo hatch and extract cargo canisters from it. In addition, once shields have been dropped a player can shoot the cargo hatch manually to damage it which will have the same effect but in most cases takes more skill. Once stolen cargo has been scooped it can be smuggled and sold on the black market at stations and outposts that feature one.
Various combat events (e.g. performing tight turns, firing weapons) heat up the ship's hull, which will make the ship easier to be spotted on scanners, which in turn will make it easier for Pirates and bounty hunters to locate such ships. This means that players will be able to detect on-going battles and join in. David Braben has hinted at the ability for combatants to communicate with ships in the vicinity to "do deals". This may mean that the player may get a share of the profits if they save a trader from pirates or get a share in the loot if they don't mind getting a bounty on their head.
Bounty Hunting Edit
Throughout the galaxy players encounter computer controlled ships and other players that have taken to a life of crime. Once scanned a player is able to see the current bounty issued against that pilot. If destroyed in combat the player will receive a bounty voucher that they can redeem at a starport controlled by the faction that issued the bounty to get the reward.
As a result of this, many criminals seek refuge in systems with an anarchy status. Anarchy systems are ruled by a faction that does not respect the rule of law. However, players are able to scan other ships in these systems with a kill warrant scanner in order to see if they are wanted in any other systems. Upon destroying them they will be able to travel to the system the bounty was issued in and claim it.
Players are able to mine resources from planetary ring systems and asteroid belts in orbit around stars. Once a mining laser and refinery module is equipped the player can fire at a suitable asteroid and use their cargo scoop to collect the asteroid chunks.
Refineries have temporary bins that will store a refined product (after you have scooped it); once each respective bin reaches 100%, the bin contents will then be automatically transferred to your cargo hold as a unit of 1, at which point it can be sold at a station.
Previous games tried to obey the laws of physics to a certain extent. This meant conventional thrusters were limited by the laws of relativity i.e. players could not travel faster than light within a star system. Frontier: Elite II used the Stardreamer feature (perceived time dilation, as a result of slowing the pilots bodily functions) as a realism/gameplay trade-off.
However, such a mechanism would not work in a multiplayer game, so Elite Dangerous features faster-than-light travel called Supercruise. Each ship comes equipped with a Frame Shift Drive (FSD) that allows it to travel faster than light within a star system, or to other star systems via a Hyperspace jump. A FSD can be upgraded to increase its range, enabling faster travel around the galaxy or for long-range exploration. The Hyperspace range of an FSD is decreased by the ship's mass, so know that if your are outfitted with heavier ship parts (hardpoints, internal modules, etc) your jump distance will be reduced. The mass of any carried cargo or fuel reduces it, referred to as the laden and unladen jump range.
Landing On PlanetsEdit
Planetary Landings is now in development, and will be released in stages in the first paid for expansion, called Elite Dangerous: Horizons. The first part of Horizons, due "Holiday 2015" will give the ability to land on "airless worlds" and enable surface exploration in all-terrain Surface Recon Vehicles (SRVs).
Ships can be outfitted to give the player control over its strengths and weaknesses. Modules within each ship affect how the ship performs and functions. Thrusters, Sensors, Frame Shift Drives, Power Plants, and more can all be swapped out to customise a ship. Livery - paintjobs and decals - can also be customised. All ship customization takes place in the the outfitting screen when docked at a station or outpost.
Weapon hardpoints on a ship can be either stowed or deployed. Other players in your vicinity have their weapons stowed your scanner will indicate a square symbol, this changes to a triangle when their weapons are deployed. NPC craft have solid squares/triangles, real players (Cmdrs) symbols are hollow.
Elite Dangerous features realistic astrophysics, with bodies in star systems at the correct distances, scale, and moving along their orbital paths in real time. New features will be added iteratively over time. David Braben has confirmed the inclusion of new encounters with comets, black holes and quasars.
Elite Dangerous is set in a procedurally generated Milky Way with over 400 billion solar systems, including our own.
Features in the expansionsEdit
Expansions to Elite Dangerous will bring various new features to the game. Some of these were available in previous Elite games and some are new to this one.